Rio de Janeiro: In a strange incident, a 22-year-old Brazilian woman was diagnosed with HIV after getting a manicure using shared equipment.
Doctors say the case, which was first reported in the journal AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses last year, highlights a “new form of transmission for the virus.”
She had none of the usual risk factors.
The journal article further stated that when the woman was first diagnosed, she was found to have advanced HIV.
However, she didn’t have any of the normal risk factors associated with contracting the virus, such as having sex without a condom or sharing infected needles.
When medical professionals probed further, they discovered that the woman had shared “manicure instruments years before with a cousin who was later found to be HIV-positive.” Blood analysis also suggested that the woman had first got the virus around 10 years ago.
Reportedly, “further genetic analysis of the viruses from both patients suggested it came from a common ancestor, indicating the possibility HIV was transmitted through the manicure instruments.”
According to Dr. Brian Foley, of the HIV Sequence Database at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, USA, the incident should not make you fearful of contact with people who have HIV because the risk of infection is very low.
He says: “HIV is not transmitted by casual contacts, such as sharing eating utensils or drinking from the same water glass. This transmission of HIV by shared manicure equipment is a very rare event that should serve not to make people fear HIV or contact with HIV-infected people.
“However, the case could promote caution around sharing items which may contain blood.
“It should make people aware that sharing any utensils with possible blood-blood contacts, such as needles used for drugs, tattoos, or acupuncture can result in the transmission of viruses such as hepatitis C (HCV) and HIV.”
As medical experts say, the case highlighted in this article is rare. Nevertheless, it’s still wise to be extra cautious about using personal care items that belong to other people — read this the Asian parent story to better understand why.
And there’s certainly no harm in double-checking with the nail technician at your next manicure or pedicure session if they have thoroughly cleaned/sterilized all equipment prior to using it on you.